Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Friends at Rest: Tex Cauthen

by Fran Jurga | 2 June 2009 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

The racing publications are reporting that Ronald "Tex" Cauthen of Walton, Kentucky has died. Tex was a well-known horseshoer in central Kentucky and was reportedly 77 years old.

I remember "meeting" Tex Cauthen the first time I walked through the then brand-new Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs in the early 1980s. I held my breath going around each corner, thinking that surely there would be an exhibit about horseshoeing coming ahead.

But there wasn't. Instead, I turned a corner by a stairway and there was a photo, set off by itself, of a farrier's hands, working. I stared at it for a long time because it was a beautiful photograph, and seemed to have been put there just so I wouldn't go home in a huff.

I stared at the name: "Tex Cauthen". I made a mental note to look him up. I felt like I knew him, having met his hands. And the name sort of rang a bell. I must have heard his name before.

I was probably the only person in the world more impressed with the fact that Tex Cauthen was a horseshoer than that he was the father of the world-famous teenage jockey who rode Affirmed to win the Triple Crown. It took me a while to put two and two together.

All the racing magazine stories say that the famous jockey's father died and, oh yes, he was a blacksmith.

Let this be one place where he's remembered for who he was, and for a pair of hands that could stop me in my tracks.

Rest in peace, Tex.

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1 comment:

Ada Gates Patton said...

Fran dear,

Earlier this year at the Cincinnatti Hoof Care Symposium I was in a hurry to get someplace when Tex Cauthen, sitting quietly in a chair in the hallway, motioned me over. Of course, I stopped everything, sat down, and forgot I was in a hurry.

We sat and talked for a half hour or so. I was struck by his gentleness, that impish glint in his eye, the soft smile. He asked me what I thought of the artificial tracks at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park. I said the reactions were not favorable and we discussed all about them.

He told me he had cancer. I was shocked. He looked wonderful, healthy, still fit, told me he still did a few horses but that he knew the cancer was terminal.

I hung on his every word, we talked about his life on the farm, his father, his growing up. It was wonderful, vivid.

I'm so sorry to hear of this loss. This was a remarkable man.

Ada Gates Patton
Monrovia, California